Akina Mama wa Afrika and partners urge Ugandan government to prioritize health financing following budget cut.
The health budget cut impedes on actualizing the goal of making Primary HealthCare a pathway to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
On the 10th of May 2022 Akina Mama wa Afika (AMwA) led partner Civil Society Organisations during a breakfast meeting with members of the parliament on health financing.
Recognizing progress made by the Ministry of Health in implementing Covid-19 recovery health plan, the meagre budget allocated to Ministry of Health is worrying , Government of Uganda is only allocating UGX 224.191 compared to UGX 1,333.54 from external financing for FY 2022/23. In the FY 2020/21 External financing was UGX 1.197. Most of the external financing remained at the Ministry of Health with only UGX 70.8 billion going to the Uganda Cancer Institute for non-residential buildings and only 2.5 billion towards Primary Health Centres (PHC) for all the local governments.
This health budget cut impedes on actualizing the goal of making Primary HealthCare a pathway to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The civil society organizations and networks in Uganda, acknowledge the importance of the health sub-program under the Third National Development Plan (NDP III) 2020/21 - 2024/25.
If effectively implemented, key results like an Increased proportion of labor force transiting to gainful employment; Increased years of schooling; Improved child and maternal outcomes; Increased life expectancy; Increased access to safe and clean water and sanitation; and Increased access to social protection by the population are envisioned. Periodically, the government of Uganda through the respective institutions such as the Parliament of Uganda, The Health and Budget Committees of Parliament, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) includes Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to actively engage in the budget process.
At the meeting, Hon Flavia Kabahenda, Chair, Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development stressed that to improve the quality of life of all Ugandans, especially around sexual and reproductive health, increased domestic resource allocation for health with a strong focus on public health services must be a priority. A position paper jointly developed by CSO partners with technical guidance and support from AMwA that addresses eight critical concerns on the FY 22/23 and provides recommendations for adoption and implementation by the Ministry of Health was presented to the members of the parliament.
Part of AMwA’s mandate is to advocate for good health for African peoples. Cutting costs on PHC budgets when even the allocated funds are not commensurate with the realities on the ground is alarming. This is not the time to deprioritize primary healthcare. The current recession-inflation of the economy compounded by the global pandemic and debt crisis shows that people need to access and afford primary healthcare. The meeting ensured that CSO partners reflected their aspirations on the Uganda health budget to meet the needs of women, girls, the poor, marginalized and minoritized populations in Uganda. According to Sylvia Sabino, representative of the Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy, “I am glad that we have discussions like these happening while people with disabilities are present in the room because we are often forgotten”.
AMwA and other CSO partners, therefore, urge the Ugandan Government and the Ministry of Health to prioritize establishing functional and adequately funded PHC by applying recommendations proposed in the position paper on the following policy issues:
- Proposed Rationalisation of the Health Sub Program Budget
- Inadequate funding to operationalize the National Ambulance system
- Inadequate Financing for Human Resources for Health
- Inadequate domestic Financing for SRHR and HIV/AIDS Services and commodities.
- Limited financing for Uganda Blood Transfusion Services.
- Poor health tools and equipment management system.
- Limited financing for PHC
- Value for Money Audit on Implementation of the URMCHSIP.
Position paper was signed by Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) in partnership with the NGOs below;
Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)
Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU)
Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS Uganda)
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)
Alliance for Women Advocating for Change (AWAC)
Voluntary Services Oversea (VSO)
Katalemwa Cheshire Home (KCH)
Community Health Advocates Association of Wakiso District
Philomera Hope Centre Foundation,
Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy (UNAC)
The National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU)
Uganda Network for Sex Work-Led Organisations (UNESO)
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)
National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN)
Straight Talk Foundation (STF)